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CD Reviews: Review of Indiana by David Mead
Medsker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com David Mead: Indiana (2004)

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Singer/songwriter David Mead certainly has the talent to be a viable commodity in the pop music world. The problem is, while he’s only 30, he’s an old soul, drawing more inspiration from Paul McCartney and Paul Simon than Rob Thomas and Rob Zombie. His two albums for RCA were filled with the kind of expertly crafted guitar pop that would have made much more sense in 1987 than they did in today’s rough and rude times. His 2001 album, Mine and Yours, was even produced by Fountains of Wayne co-captain Adam Schelsinger, and sports a title track that was one of the best songs of that year. Both albums were critics’ darlings and, naturally, commercial disasters.

However, that which does not kill us may make us bitter, but in most cases, it also makes us better. Acknowledging that pop is a young man’s game (insert your own “Logan’s Run” joke here), Mead checked out of New York, moved back to his native Nashville, switched record labels and made the splendid Indiana. The textures may be softer – there’s enough acoustic and pedal steel guitar in here for a Loretta Lynn box set – but his knack for a pop hook is as sharp as ever, with a title track that plays like an imaginary duet between Marshall Crenshaw and the Everly Brothers. Stately ballads like “Beauty” and the bouncy “Oneplusone” serve as a bridge between his guitar pop albums and the kinder, gentler Mead of today, but it’s his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” that will likely draw the most attention, for better or worse. Mead is five years older than Jackson was when he first recorded the song, but Mead’s performance exudes an acceptance in just letting things be that Jackson, to this day, still doesn’t understand. In the end, it’s a sweet rendition, but not without a trace of sadness.

Indiana is the work of a man who is clearly more interested in playing for the people who already appreciate him than he is bending over backwards for the masses who will likely ignore him anyway. It’s a harsh lesson for any musician to learn, to be sure, but one that all too few artists learn with the grace that Mead shows here.

~David Medsker 


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